Amazon Prime Video Launch in Canada Coming Dec. 1 Says Bell


Former Top Gear host, Jeremy Clarkson, may have let the cat out of the bag a couple weeks back, when he tweeted his new show, The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime Video, is set to go global next month, which includes Canada.

Now, at this morning’s second day of CRTC public hearing on the renewal of television licenses, Bell Media president, Mary Ann Turcke, reveals Amazon Prime is set to launch in Canada on December 1, as noted by Cartt’s Greg O’Brien, who attended the hearing (via MobileSyrup):

Now, a new global OTT competitor—Amazon Prime—is entering the Canadian market in two days. So it’s not just our fellow Canadian broadcasters who will try to outbid us for first run, original programming but it’s Netflix and now Amazon, two entities that are not subject to the same regulatory requirements as us and that have astronomically more buying power than we do. And Amazon is just the next one in a potential universe of six worldwide brands that we will have to compete against.

Turcke was responding to concerns of Bell Media and how it competes nowadays against “an ecosystem that blends both regulated and unregulated operators, which creates a new level of complexity.”

The reported launch of Amazon Prime Video in Canada comes just after shomi–the product of Rogers and Shaw–shuts down.

Essentially, Bell Media says people are watching more and more video online, with English Canada seeing a 12% drop in prime time this year alone. Meanwhile, Netflix and its approximate 5.2 million subscribers (which an estimated 1 million to have signed up in 2016 alone) in Canada, puts more pressure on traditional broadcasters.

According to Bell, Netflix nabs $600 million worth of subscription revenue per year in Canada, which equates to nearly 30% of revenues available (excluding sports).

The company also detailed a harrowing story from last May, when they were down in Los Angeles bidding on foreign TV rights against Netflix. Bell said it was “lucky” to win two of three shows, but they paid “a significant premium” because of Netflix, who was “willing to pay more for the content even in a non-ad supported world.”

Should a company like Netflix or other OTT operator acquire top prime time network television shows, Bell Media argues it would lose viewers and advertising revenues from Canadian businesses.

Bell Media also commented on their shutdown of analog TV transmitters, citing high costs to maintain and replace them, which comes in at nearly $2 million each.

Are you excited for Amazon Prime Video to launch in Canada? The added perk would come free as part of your annual $79 Prime subscription (students: you get Prime for 50% off by the way).

Knowing the complexities of streaming rights in Canada (where a few players hold rights), aside from Amazon Original Series content, we probably will lack access to the wide variety of shows our U.S. neighbours get down south.

Do you still pay for cable? Or are you solely watching your video content online?


  • Jeff Artiss

    Oh I hope this is true – Hope we get the same shows as our neighbours to the South.

  • I might spring for Prime if this is true. Paying for cable at the moment because it was a pretty unbeatable promo when we signed up for internet (only $10/month more) and have become addicted to TCM (Turner Classic Movies) with the PVR. Will be interesting to see what we decide to do when our promo period is up.

  • Awesome. Can’t wait

  • karinatwork

    Not even close. 🙁

  • The_Marl

    There are already a few shows available to Prime subscribers in Canada, including The Grand Tour. All you have to do is sign in with your Canadian Amazon Prime account and you’ll have access. Will be nice to have access to more though.

  • CMfly

    Awesome! Now it might be worth it for me to sign up for prime 🙂

  • Mark Holoubek

    Interesting, especially coming literally the day after Shomi gets shut down. I assume they’re gobbling up some of Shomi’s content. The American Prime has all the legacy HBO stuff, which here of course belongs to Crave.

  • Kevin Labranche

    I already have Amazon Prime which is now even better. I use Netflix regularly and use Shomi till tomorrow…I also have NHL Gamecenter and No Cable for the last 5 years and I dont miss it at all…

  • winnertakesteve

    Awesome, now let’s just get hbo go without a cable subscription up here, bell media. I’m never going back to cable anyway, so I don’t know why they choose no income from me at all, rather than at least a stand-alone cut of hbo.

  • Francis Paquette

    Jane the virgin is now on Netflix Canada and the rights were owned by Shomi!

  • Jim

    I suspect Bell, Rogers and Shaw have been able to buy the foreign rights to programs pretty cheap in the past. Now that their competing with people outside the old-boys-club they have to pay up.

    Poor babies.

  • mcfilmmakers

    God forbid that we encourage Canadian companies to compete on the global scale. Bell deserves what it gets due to its complacency and inability to innovate.

  • Jason

    Do you do local content? CBC, CTV, Global etc

  • So Young

    Its about time. I’m a prime member and I realy like the service. Just for the guaranteed 2 day shipping and 20% off for new game is worth it for me so, Amazon prime video is just a great bonus for just $79 a year.

  • Francis Paquette

    I also have NHL gamecenter live, Netflix and CraveTV. For the local content, I use an antenna.

  • Jason

    Large antenna or the one that sticks to the window?

  • Francis Paquette

    I have both, a large antenna for my house and one that sticks to the window for my appartment

  • Kevin Labranche

    Where I am an antenna does not get much channels. For news I use Bloomberg TV, Reuters TV and CBC and I use the CBC and Global for extra Content.

  • Geoffrey Spencer

    Same here. Love it. You do have to live with the occasional pixelation when the weather is bad but it beats paying through the nose for 100s of channels that I do not even watch. I am thinking of canceling CraveTV to punish Bell though.

  • Geoffrey Spencer

    Never happen so long as Bell owns the rights to HBO in Canada. Look at CraveTV for HBO shows though but it too is owned by Bell.

  • Geoffrey Spencer

    It is all about licensing rights. Amazon will be competing for the rights to shows with Netflix and CraveTV.

  • Tim

    right now, only The Grand Tour interests me. I’m certainly not going to pay $80 CAD a year to watch it. So, I’ll be sticking to torrents.

  • karinatwork


  • Cornfed710

    Totally separate rights holders in Canada.

  • Brenda

    I gave up on cable a few years ago because there was nothing on TV I wanted to watch aside from a few good French language programs. I tried US Amazon Prime for awhile, but wasn’t impressed with their content either. I’m just not fond of US programs. I now watch news on Bloomberg, Reuters and the CBC AppleTV app (RDI why aren’t you on AppleTV?), TV shows and movies on Netflix and iTunes, and I watch a lot of UK programming (BBC 1, 2, 4, Welsh and Scottish channels, ITV and Channel 4). If I had to make a choice between them, I’d probably go with the UK programming (no one else has better crime shows or sheepherding competitions) and a few shows from France. National borders are meaningless these days. Let us watch what we want.

  • Dehop

    So we’re right back to the cable/satellite model.

    Except worse because content is exclusive to certain providers (instead of certain channels carried by all providers), and with few live TV options.

  • Brenda

    I agree completely.

  • Brenda

    But what about the cable subscribers they lost who mostly subscribed because of HBO? They’re not coming back. At some point they’ll lose enough subscribers and it will make it worthwhile to offer HBO Go in Canada. But they’re not there yet. Also, the HBO content on Crave is old content. If they put current HBO content on Crave they’d get some customers back. But how many cable customers would they lose? I’m sure they’re keeping a close eye on the numbers.

  • Ace

    So, obviously this didn’t happen today? no update when i check my Prime account.